Consider the Negroni: made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The Negroni is a cocktail at once sharp and smooth, lean and lush, brusquely bitter and slightly sweet. A cocktail, in other words, with the kind of bright, clean character perfectly suited for a summer day, but robust enough to hold its own at any time of the year.
This isn't a Negroni. It is, however, the Negroni's long-lost autumnal cousin. First noted in print in 1927 in a slender volume called Barflies and Cocktails, and forgotten almost ever since, the Boulevardier takes the same Negroni formula--a good dose of gin brushed up with equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth--and gives it a twist by substituting whiskey for the gin.
A simple substitution? Hardly. The bittersweet interplay between Campari and vermouth remains, but the whiskey changes the storyline. Where the Negroni is crisp and lean, the Boulevardier is rich and intriguing. There's a small difference in the preparation, but the result is absolutely stunning.
It's mid-September, and summer is packing up and heading south. Bid it adieu and welcome autumn with a Boulevardier this weekend.
Note: As with the Negroni, the Boulevardier is flexible; contemporary palates may appreciate bumping up the whiskey to 1 1/2 ounces and dropping the other ingredients to 3/4 ounce. Try it both ways and see what you prefer.
- 1 ounce bourbon or rye whiskey
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Garnish: orange twist or cherry
Pour ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry or a twist of orange peel.